And now for part two of Cait and Mime's linkup!
1. How many books did you write this year? (Estimate your overall wordcount for us too!)
I only wrote one full book this year, The Ankulen's second draft, and it ended up at 70,000+ words. But I also worked on most of my other books.
Just Another Sci-Fi Novel 50,000
The New Division 16,000
Behind the Rainbow 2,000
Water Princess, Fire Prince 50 notebook pages, which turns into 12,500 words at my average squish (how many words I can fit onto one page, my record's nearly 350 words, but it's usually closer to 250)
My Kingdom for a Quest 45 notebook pages, 11,000 words
Worth of a King 3 chapters at 1,400 words, 1,200 words, and 1,600 words.
And I've worked on some short stories which rack up another 3,000, 2,500, 1,500, and 1,400 words.
Which all together is over 184,000 words, since I was rounding down, which is pretty epic all things considered. I think I shall attempt to double that for next year ...
2. Which was your favourite to write?
Shish-kabobs. Quaggleshump. Jump-rope. Popcorn.
You're making me CHOOSE!
Well, if I have to make this difficult decision, I think I shall have to go with Water Princess, Fire Prince, simply because I've been working on it the longest, and because I love its plot and characters.
3. Which was the hardest to write?
My Kingdom for a Quest. Ugh. That book is constantly getting itself stuck. I'm breezing through it fine right now, however!
4. Tell us about you favourite Male Character you wrote this year!
Derek from The Ankulen. Having grown up with very few peers of the opposite gender, I often struggle with writing them as characters. But both my Grandma and Aunt Viv (who both grew up as only daughters with two brothers, and Grandma raised three boys) say that I pulled Derek off pretty well.
Derek had a very bad childhood, including, but not limited to, his parents divorcing and his mother adamantly not wanting him. He wants a family, but has been burned so badly, he's wary of anyone who tries to get close to him. In the first draft of the book, he was a complete jerk, but in the second draft ... eep. He's a great guy, despite how annoying he can be, and he makes a great big brother.
5. And how about your favourite Female Character?
This one's even worse, because I love all of my gals. But since I have to choose, I'll go with Analyssa Stardrana from Half-Hidden, the titular half-hidden. She's one of my rebellious princesses, but she's not in-your-face about it. Her mother's people hunt wyrmen and ride dragons, so she spends much of her time doing that. But when she's at home with her father's people, she's as proper a princess as you could ask for ... though she can be quite haughty when in the presence of a potential suitor.
6. Can you introduce us to some awesome sidekick(s)?
Tisha and Chris from The Ankulen, and the short story "The Adventure of the Sun Jewel" where they are even more sidekicky than in the main novel (despite the fact that Jenny declares it Chris's adventure).
They are figments of Jen's imagination, but because she has an Ankulen, she was able to bring them to life as a child. Sir Chrisofer is her personal protector, and Fair Maiden Letitia is her best friend. At least, they were until they managed to get out of her imaginary world and install themselves as Jen's brother and sister ... a stunt that Jen was not impressed with.
7. Any romances in your writing? Which couple didn't go together as expected?
Plenty of romances. A and M in Just Another SciFi; Clara and Andrew, the titular Water Princess and Fire Prince; Obsidia and Delaney in Worth of a King; Jyson and Stardrana in Half-Hidden. A romance between two side characters in The Ankulen. Oh, and everyone in My Kingdom for a Quest. That's complicated.
But as for anyone not coming together as expected, that didn't happen, unless you count the fact that Clara has finally decided that Andrew isn't half-bad after all much sooner than I had initially intended. I realized that I needed to have them working together before the climatic battle, you see.
8. What's your favourite Pinterest Board for one of your books? Can we see some pics for the book they inspire?
I think that would be the board for the Rizkaland Legends, to which Water Princess, Fire Prince belongs.
And sure, I'll show you some pics!
9. What challenges did you compete in this year? (NaNos? Personal goals? Challenges run by other blogs?) And how did you go?
I did and won NaNo. I attempted and gave up on July's NaNo (Where I got most of Half-Hidden's word count), I did and completed the first 100-for-100 over at Go Teen Writers, and I attempted the second, but realized that it was intruding on projects that were much more important. I did Actually Finishing Something In July hosted by Whisperings of the Pen, though I didn't do as good as I wanted to.
As for personal goals, I published The Ankulen and Do You Take This Quest. The latter was supposed to be out last December, but ... anyways. Ankulen got out on the day I intended!
10. Show us the full cast in pictures from one of your books.
Most of my books have these epicly huge casts that I can barely keep up with (but have tons of fun doing so), and if I were to do any of them, we'd be here all day. But The Ankulen actually had a pretty small, self contained cast, and I've hunted down pictures of almost everyone, so I'll do it.
Jen, the main character, narrator, and possessor of the ultimate case of writer's block. This girl actually needs more freckles, but everything else about her is pretty good.
Jen as a child ... back when she was called Jenny, and right after she developed her Writer's Block. And there is an important plot reason for her being in black and white.
Fair Maiden Letitia. Jen's former best friend, now here resented adopted sister. She's in black and white for a similar reason.
Sir Christofer, Jen's valiant protector. He was trapped in Jen's imagination after she discovered the whole getting out and becoming a sibling mess, so he's still a kid. Which was pretty interesting.
Megan, the girl Jen's parents were supposed to adopt. She's so sweet and innocent, despite being fifteen. She provided such a nice balance for the grudge-holding Jen once she entered the story.
Derek, the boy Jen's parents were supposed to adopt, and Megan's complete opposite. He was so cynical and jaded ... but I've talked about him earlier, so I won't say anything more.
11. Epic quote(s) you wrote?
Arthur carefully selected an arrow and fitted it to his bowstring. He drew back, carefully aimed, then let it fly.
It missed the target by a good three feet.
Arthur turned to see his cousin, Robert, who was endevoring to teach him archery. "I was closer the last time."
"Yes, but your form is better this time." Robert claimed the bow from Arthur, selected an arrow from his quiver, fitted it to the string, and fired. The arrow flew straight to the target and sank soundly in the bull's eye. "No one masters archery in a day. You've only been at it two weeks. Give it time."
"How long did it take you?"
Robert slid the bow onto his back and gathered up the arrows and trust them into the quiver. "A week and a half."
- My Kingdom for a Quest
“What dost thou plan to do?”
“Oh, read Fibonacci’s Rabbits for the one thousand and fiftieth time, discover the one hundredth twenty-third place in pi, roam the garter, talk with my birds, and, if I can squeeze it in, boredly watch as quinces try to rescue me.”
“Ah, thou dost have a busy day ahead of thee! I hope that thou mayest get it all done!”
Doranna sighed. “Well, if I get started at once, I just might!” She glanced at the mirror for a moment, trying to perfect her expression of complete and utter boredom, but instead burst into laughter. Maria soon joined her, shaking her head in amusement.
“Any other princess,” said Maria, as their mirth died down, “wouldst be in tears after spending … how long has it been? Fifty? Sixty? Seventy years trapped in a castle caught in time. But thou, Princess Doranna, thou art a wonder.”
“Seventy-seven years and three hundred and three days,” said Doranna, automatically. She sighed. “Verily, it hast been far too long. I tire of my confidence, yet my only other opinion is unsinkable.”
- "Woodcutter Quince"
“Hey, Jy,” continued Samul. “Do you think there's any chance we might see a dragon on our way there? Because that would be seriously cool.”
“It would only be seriously cool if it stays well away from us. Those beasts breath fire, if you'll remember. That's seriously hot.”
“What's this!” exclaimed Samul in an incredulous voice. “Jyson cracking a joke? The world must be coming to an end!”
I glanced around myself and feigned a sigh of disappointment. “You’re right. We landed high and dry. Oh, I hope this isn’t a desert! What if there’s no water at all! We’ll die of thirst!”
V was now on the ground and glaring up at me. “Cut. It. Out.”
“Fine, Vienna Sausages,” I said, rumpling her hair, causing her to squeak. “Let’s just see if we can find that rainbow. You know what they say, where there’s a rainbow, there’s bound to be water!”
“That's my name – don't wear it out!”
- Behind the Rainbow
And I think that's all I'll share for now.
12. Last word from your manuscript(s)! Go!
The Ankulen: note
Just Another Sci-Fi Novel: Door
The New Division: Grandmother
Behind the Rainbow: already
Water Princess, Fire Prince: day
My Kingdom for a Quest: honeymoon
Worth of a King: anxious
"Woodcutter Quince": guess
"Gift Exchange": think
"The Sun Jewel Adventure": asked
That's quite an interesting collection...
13. First sentences from your manuscript(s)!
The Ankulen: I have no imagination
Just Another Sci-Fi Novel: In our day and age, competition among authors has grown fierce.
The New Division: During the Great Depression, it was not an unusual thing for a small baby to be left on the doorstep of an orphanage by parents unable to provide for the tiny life.
Half-Hidden: In his dreams, Jyson could always fly.
Behind the Rainbow: I hear that my sister is being all dramatic and all that up there, with the present tense and stuff like that. (This is actually the first sentence of the second chapter, by my sister wrote the first chapter)
Water Princess, Fire Prince: Clara sat at the top of a big slide with three of her friends. (Actually, that line's around five years old. I've been working on this story that long!)
My Kingdom for a Quest: Once upon a time, in a land called Bookania, two servants were locked in a dungeon for the mere crime of not knowing where their prince was.
Worth of a King: “Milady, please, put down the book, I need to do your hair.”
"Woodcutter Quince": Once upon a time, in a land called Bookania, there lived a woodcutter and his wife in the middle of a large and fearsome wood called Black Forest.
"Gift Exchange": Once upon a time in a land called Bookania, a small party was camped beside the main road, but was in no hurry to continue their journey, at least not that day, for it was a very special day.
"CinderEddy": Once upon a time there was a valiant knight whose kindness and bravery were known throughout the land.
"The Sun Jewel Adventure": Jenny Brown was eight years old.
14. Show us your favourite funny scene!
Ooh. This one's tough, partly because I have a lot of funny scenes (many of the punny variety,) and partly because most of those funny scenes are only funny in context. But I'll look ...
Without thinking, I began slowly walking in the direction I was being pulled. I heard Tisha and Chris fall into step behind me, but I kept my eyes shut. We walked like this for some time, but then I ran into a tree.
Yes, you read that right. I ran into a tree.
Well, actually, I walked into that tree, but, still. The tree and my face had a collision.
Instantly, my eyes flew open and I jumped backwards. As I pulled off my glasses to make sure they were still intact, I heard giggling behind me, so I threw a glare over my shoulder. “Yes?”
“Were – were you walking with your eyes closed?” questioned Tisha, who was, to her credit, trying not to laugh.
“What does it matter if I was?” I answered, turning my attention back to my glasses. Well, at least they didn't seem to be harmed. With grudging satisfaction, I slid them back onto my nose and turned to face the pair.
- The Ankulen
15. Show us a snippet of dialogue you're proud of.
Again, difficult. I'm a dialogue-driven author (in case you haven't noticed from the above snippets), so to single out one snippet (that, again, makes sense out of context) is tricky. But I'll look!
Robert sighed and shook his head. "Well, I'm her brother, and I say she can't sleep in any longer." With that, he stood up and marched over to the girl's tent and pulled back the flap. "Robin! If you sleep any longer, you'll miss the party."
"Robin!" he said, louder. "Wake up. It is morning."
"Go away," Robin growled. "I'm asleep."
"Fine then. You'll miss the party." Robert turned to go, intending to get some pine cones or something that he could throw at his sister to wake her up.
Robert turned to see that Robin had actually opened her eyes and propped herself up on one elbow. He grinned. "Well, Eric's here, so it must be a party."
- "Gift Exchange"
16. Tell us about some funny typos or writer-bloopers you've had this year!
Um, during NaNo I wrote that that the ceilings in engineering were taller than in other humans ... instead of other rooms. Also writing the words "The flippant" turned into "Theippant" somehow.
17. What has writing taught you about yourself this year?
Patience. You have to be very patient when it comes to writing. Very, very patient.
18. Best piece of writing advice you learnt this year?
Don't insist that the first draft be perfect. I didn't used to, and then I did, and now I don't anymore. I love rough drafting, but actually, my favorite part of writing is rewriting.
19. Anything big on the horizons for next year? Plans to query? Publish? Edit?
I hope to publish a short story collection and at least one more installment of the Bookania Quests. I
20. Tell us a bit about a book you're super excited to write in 2014!
Hopefully I will (finally!) finish with Water Princess, Fire Prince's first draft, and I'm looking forward to tearing it apart and rebuilding it. Maybe I'll have it out by June 2015! (I can dream, right?) I'm also looking forward to writing book two of the Rizkaland Legends. This is one of my oldest stories, and it'll be its fifth draft. Very fun!
A bit about the two? Well, the series is inspired by Narnia, and as a result, it involves a lot of world traveling. Book one (WP,FP) is about two teens, Clara and Andrew, who become a Water Princess and Fire Prince and are forced to work together and save the island of Klarand. And that sounds really cheesy, doesn't it?
(And the reason I didn't share any snippets from that book was the fact that I'm so close to finished, almost everything would spoil the plot)